x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Inventors from UAE fold away patents

The inventors have made a patent application to the the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

DUBAI // Three Emirati inventors have created folding mechanisms that will improve new generation of tablets and smartphones with flexible screens.

Wasfi Alshdaifat, his wife Eida Almuhairbi, and Farah Qassab developed two designs and have taken the first step towards having them patented worldwide.

Samsung displayed a flexible smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. It had a high-resolution display made of extremely thin plastic instead of glass, which meant it could be bent.

Experts believe this technology could pave the way for a wide range of foldable products with flexible screens.

The Abu Dhabi team decided such devices would be improved with a motorised folding and unfolding mechanism, the state news agency Wam has reported.

International patent applications for the two designs have been published on the website of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo). Such applications are made in accordance with the international treaty covering patent law.

"The international search and examining authorities have written in their reports that the claims in the inventions are totally industrially applicable, novel and inventive, compared with the searched patents, which referred to Samsung, LG, Toshiba and other companies," said Mr Alshdaifat.

One of the designs uses a spring to unfold the device, which the team has dubbed the Tri-phone because the display is divided into three parts.

The description of the second design is: "A tiny electric motor is used to drive folding the flexible display for pocket storage, and unfolding it for use."

Ms Almuhairbi said major companies encouraged by positive results of search reports and capable of developing the inventors' prototypes into marketable products had asked them to apply for patents in the United States, China, Japan, Europe and South Korea.

"Now it will be easy to get the patents granted from these offices," she said. "But we need to file 20 national patent applications in these offices, which will cost around Dh2m for service charges and patent filing fees."

Wipo has published 15 patent applications from the UAE so far this year.

Mr Alshdaifat's team has registered 30, more than any other group in the country.

csimpson@thenational.ae